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It is bon voyage for an Ardnamurchan teenager who is heading to France while most of her peers head off to university or college.
Rachael White, 17, is bound for the Donnemarie Dontilly near Fontainebleu, south east of Paris, to work in a school for people with physical disabilities and barriers to learning called Lycee Villepatour.
The school caters for around 100 children ranging from primary age through to adults in their 20s.
Rachael, from Strontian, told us: ‘I’m going to work in the school and I’ll lead activities for them, not just education stuff, but also other activities to give them an interest.’
The former pupil of Ardnamurchan High School had previously organised her own French exchange to the school through family friends.
‘After my exams in fourth year I was very keen to do a French exchange and go abroad… I’m not quite sure how the visit to the disabled school happened but I said I’d be happy to volunteer and so I went and helped take a trip.
‘I really loved it and I thought the school was a really special school and that I would like to have a part in this. The family were very nice and I thought it was a very magical place.’
Rachael, who left school with highers in music, English, biology, French as well as advanced highers in English and music, including Grade 8 with merit on the flute, is not worried about seeing her peers head off to university or college without her.
‘I think I’m quite excited to do something that is not academic. I feel like I have gifts outwith academic stuff and I’m quite excited to explore that. I think I would be more nervous about going to uni and writing essays and doing lots of writing work, so I’m quite excited about doing more non-
academic stuff but I think equally just as scared about leaving home.’
Rachael admits to being nervous about the language but is staying with a teacher at the school whose son has been staying in Ardnamurchan with her over the summer.
She has big plans to help with her language skills such as possibly joining a sports club, a music club or church-related activity.
Our picture shows Clovis Gallagher, son of one of the teachers at Lycee Villepatour, and Rachael White.
NO F35 Rachel White